Experts encourage school safety
Updated: Thursday, October 24 2013, 06:47 PM EDT
Rochester, N.Y. -- It was a conference meant to educate the educators. An expert panel of law enforcement and legal experts with the same goal in mind - offer their ideas to help prevent further violence on school campuses.
“There are techniques that we could employ in order to anticipate some of these sorts of things,” said Timothy G. Kremer, Executive Director of the New York State School Boards Association.
“You can’t 100% guarantee safety but there are things that we may not have been aware of in the past that we are more aware of now.”
Retired Secret Service agent Bryan Vossekuil was among four seminal panelists.
When preventing attacks, there are two components, said Vossekuil.
Physical measures are the first part of prevention, those steps are obvious, the other is threat assessment, said Vossekuil.
“Schools that have and work hard to create and maintain climates of connection where students who have troubling information about a classmate or a friend are encouraged to come forward,” explained Vossekuil.
State Police Technical Sergeant Renise Holohan said school staff must look for “everyday things,” not necessarily student threats.
“To uncover things that are not necessarily school shooters, but could be such things such as eating disorders or suicidal subjects or just students having problems with parents going through a divorce,” said Holohan.
Even schools that have risk assessment teams, such as Webster say they can do a better job with their teams and other staff members when it comes to communication.
“Things that I want to strengthen is make sure we have timely meetings with the school psychologists, the nurses, health aides, the folks that interact with the children outside of the classroom,” said Thomas Nespeca, a member of the Webster school board.